Over 1,00,000 metric tons of caffeine are consumed around the world every year that’s equivalent to the weight of 40 Eiffel Towers most of this caffeine is consumed in coffee and tea but it’s also ingested in some sodas chocolate caffeine pills and even beverages labeled decaf caffeine helps us feel alert focused happy andenergetic even if we haven’t had enough sleep but it can also raise our blood pressure and make us feel anxious. It’s the world’s most widely used drug So how does it keep usawake.
Caffeine evolved in plants where it serves a few purposes in high doses as it’s found in the leaves and seeds of certain species it’s toxic to insects but when they consume it inlower doses as it’s found in nectar it can actually help them remember and revisit flowers.
In the human body caffeine acts as a stimulant for the central nervous system it keeps us awake by blocking one of the body’s key sleep inducing molecules a substance calledadenosine.
Your body needs a constant supply of energy which it gets by breaking down a high energy molecule called A.T.P. in the process it liberates adenosine A.T.P.’s chemicalbackbone neurons in your brain have receptor is perfectly tailored to this molecule when adenosine docks to these receptors it activates a cascade of biochemical reactionsthat cause Iran’s to fire more sluggishly and slow the release of important brain signaling molecules in other words you get sleepy caffeine is what’s called an adenosinereceptor antagonist that means it derails this process. Of slowing your neurons down by blocking adenosine receptors.
Caffeine and adenosine have a similar molecular structure close enough that caffeine can wedge into the adenosine receptors but not close enough to activate them tosummarize adenosine inhibits your neurons caffeine inhibits the inhibitor so it stimulates you.
Caffeine can also boost positive feelings in some neurons the adenosine receptors are linked to receptor is for another molecule called dopamine one of dope means roles inthe brain is to promote feelings of pleasure when adenosine docks in one of these paired receptors that can make it harder for dopamine to fit in its own spot interrupting itsmood lifting work but when caffeine takes adenosine place it doesn’t have the same effect and dopamine can slide in.
There is evidence that caffeine’s effects on adenosine and dopamine receptors can have a long term benefits to reducing the risk of diseases like Parkinson’s Alzheimer’s andsome types of cancer.
Caffeine can also ramp up the body’s ability to burn in fact in fact some sports organizations think that caffeine gives athletes an unfair advantage and have placed limits on itsconsumption from one nine hundred seventy two until two thousand and four Olympic athletes had to stay below a certain caffeine concentration to compete.
Of course not all of caffeine’s effects are so helpful it might make you feel better and more alert but it can also raise your heart rate and blood pressure cause increase yournation or diarrhea and contribute to insomnia and anxiety plus the foods and beverages caffeine is found in have their own impacts on your body that have to be taken intoaccount.
Your brain can adapt to read. Their consumption of caffeine if your adenosine receptors are perpetually clogged your body will manufacture extra ones that way even withcaffeine around adenosine can still do its job of signaling the brain to power down that’s why you may find you need to consume more and more caffeine to feel as alert thereare more and more adenosine receptors to block it’s also why if you suddenly quit caffeine you may experience and unpleasant withdrawal with plenty of receptors and nocompetition adenosine can work over time causing symptoms like headaches tiredness and depressed moods.
But in a few days the extra adenosine receptors will disappear your body will readjust and you’ll feel just as alert as ever even without an infusion of the world’s most popularstimulant.